Dr. Tracy's Advice Column

Cartoon Kiss

2/27/09

Relationship Deathknell
Teenage Crushes
Lost Opportunity



Relationship Deathknell

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I started dating this man in December 2008. He gave me all the signs that he was very interested and liked being around me. We had a good December, but January 2009 wavered and this month it was completely kaput. Last week he said, "I think I just want to be friends, for now." He also said "I don't want to lead you on and break your heart." He came all the way to my house, which is 25-30 miles away to tell me this. Before he left he gave me a hug and a kiss on the lips and promised to call that Friday. He did call and we talked as if nothing had happened. I saw him two days ago and we were civil. He asked me about work but nothing more. He sat away from me, and before he would have been next to me.

I am so confused on how to handle the situation. He has kids, is very sensitive and is worried about his job. I really like him very much but I am confused on what to do about it. I don't want to chase him, but I don't want him to think I don't care anymore either. I figured I would just let things go for a while and let the relationship be what it is - friends. He was married twice before that ended in divorce and they took everything. He also has had/dated more women, from what I understand, than I can count on two hands - yes this worries me a little. Their relationships haven't lasted more than about six months. I am not going to put all my eggs in one basket but want to make sure I am not cutting myself short either. I feel like I am the only person that has wanted him for him, from what I've been told about the other woman including by him, and not what he could do for me. I am a very strong, capable, hopelessly romantic woman and was hoping he might be the one. Could he actually be denying his feelings for me because of his past relationship problems?

What do you think, am I even remotely close to happiness or should I chalk this one up to a learning experience?

Dear Confused,

No wonder you're confused. You are trying to get a man who has no interest in becoming yours. He may have acted like he was interested last December, but that was in the beginning. It only lasted a couple of months, long enough for him to discover that he really wasn't interested enough.

That is the normal pattern in dating and relationships. Why is this a mystery for you? Because part of your brain got disconnected about a month ago. It happens to almost everyone, but especially to romantic types like yourself. You meet someone attractive, the relationship starts off well, and you begin to think that he or she is "the one." That wishful thinking shuts off the common sense part of your brain -- the part which should be reminding you of what you already know: most relationships don't work out. Think about it. If they did, most everyone would be married to their high school sweetheart.

There's nothing wrong with being hopeful about a promising new relationship, but it's often hard to know when to quit hoping. In this case, he's given you a big, bold headline. When a man says he just wants to be friends and doesn't want to lead you on and break your heart, that's the deathknell of the relationship. The problem here isn't with the man, it's with you. He was honest and respectful enough to drive 25 miles just to tell you. But you don't want to hear what he's saying. You continue to hope that he will change his mind and decide he wants to be with you after all.

Save yourself from this uncertainty and distress. Reconnect your common sense by discarding your futile hope. This false hope will only make you miserable and keep you from giving other men a chance -- men who might really be interested in you.

Don't delude yourself that this man is "the one." He's told you honestly how he feels (which is more than many men do), and his past relationship pattern indicates that he's speaking truth, not "denying his feelings." Chalk this one up as a well-intentioned relationship that simply didn't work out. Don't waste time trying to make something work that has no chance. You are not on the road to happiness with this man, you're on the road to heartache.

He's had so many chances with so many women. Like you, they probably thought he was going to be "the one." Consider this one practice and move on to find the Mr. Right. This is Mr. Wrong.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Teenage Crushes

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am a teenage girl writing you as a plea for help. I recently kissed my crush (though friend) as a "Christmas present" in December. We don't kiss regularly, but have kissed numerous times previously. I really like him but it is obvious by how he is acting towards me that he's just not into me the way I am to him. I've wondered before and to this day still if I am a slut for french kissing him in public, and him not being my boyfriend (like I can control that!).

Though he doesn't want to be my boyfriend, we do kiss sometimes. I don't want to say no but I really don't want to kiss him while we are not together. Is there anything you can do to help me....maybe give me advice on how to get him to like me?

What should I do?

In Love With Him.

Dear Teen Kisser,

Learn while you're young. You are letting this one get away with not being your boyfriend because he gets your kisses without having to do anything. He obviously doesn't think he has to become your boyfriend or even act like he's into you because you kiss him anyway.

So if you want him to like you more, stop kissing him. That may not make sense at first, but you will probably discover that he is more interested in a girl he can't have than one who's too easy. You will also feel better about yourself because your self-esteem will be higher. If you feel like you're being slutty for French kissing him in public, then you are. Also, since it makes you feel like you might not be doing the right thing, listen to your inner voice and stop doing it.

Sometimes saying no is the best way to get a guy to like you. In any case, what you're doing isn't working, so you have to try something different. Don't keep doing the same thing and expect the results to change. You have to change in order to get him to change.

Guys are more intrigued by a girl who says no than one who says yes all the time. In general, don't give more than you're getting, give less. If you're giving more, then stop and give less. He may well be drawn to you to find out how to get more again.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



Lost Opportunity

Dear Dr. Tracy,

I am 27 years old and currently in a relationship.

Before I met my current partner I was in a 7 year relationship that did not bring out the best in me. Part of the reason why I believe I was unhappy during all of those years was because I was not true to myself and my feelings. I was also young and imature when we started dating. I left that relationship back in April of 2008 and started a period in my life where I made a promise to be true to myself no matter what the circumstance. I did it because I want to feel free and happy.

During my 7 year relationship I met a man at work I was emotionally and physically attracted to but who was also in a long term relationship himself. We built a friendship during the two years we were working together, and up until today we talk, even though he left the company I work at and is now married to his former girlfriend.

Prior to asking his girlfriend to marry him he confided in me that he wanted to experience being with another woman -- one last woman, in his words -- before getting married, in order to be certain that it was his girlfriend he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He also mentioned that during his long term relationship his former girlfriend wanted a break in the relationship, and he later found out that she was with another man. That was also one of the reasons he mentioned for wanting to have an affair before getting married. He asked me for advice a lot during that time and at one point he mentioned he wanted this experience to be with me. I immediately turned it down since I knew I just wouldn't be able to bear the fact that he was going to get married and that I could get involved with him and hurt by the situation very deeply. I never mentioned the reason to him, up until today.

As if the fact that he was about to get married was not the only obstacle between us -- at least in my heart, that is -- he ended up having an affair with my best friend, who was going thru a divorce at the time and wanted to have meaningless sexual experiences with just about anyone that came across her way. Before my friend started seeing this guy she asked me if I liked him, as he had mentioned to her that I asked him not to share with me any details of his planned affair. It's clear to me now that he suspected I had feelings towards him.

The worse part of all this is that I was the one who brought the two of them together! Today I think back on my past actions and even though I try to rationalize over the reasons why I did, today I regret it deeply. I feel I lost the opportunity to be happy with him even if this happinesse would had been temporary. I was afraid of being hurt and of doing something wrong, in this case being unfaithful to my partner and to his girlfriend. Today I feel like there are no rules.

My girlfriend fell in love with him and he decided to marry his former girlfriend anyway. For many months after the wedding my girlfriend would cry to me about him and I would console her. I used to tell her to feel happy for the moments they had together and to understand that this affair was something temporary from day one. I truly wanted her to be happy at the time when I brought them both together, but I did not imagine she would get so involved.

Today I am with a wonderful man who does bring out the best in me and to whom I have tried to be completely open about everything I feel.

My struggle, and the reason why I write to you for advice, is that every now and then I think about this old friend of mine and I cannot get him out of my mind. I feel I need to tell him how I felt in the past and now even though I have no idea of his reaction. I also feel I need to talk to my current partner and my best friend about these feelings in order to have stronger relationships with both of them. This is part of the process I feel I need to go through in order to be completely true to myself. I just do not know if it's the right thing to do (I can't only think about myself in the situation), and, if it is the right thing to do, to whom I should talk about it first.

I truly appreciate your advice.

Dear True to Yourself,

Being true to yourself is great and you probably saved yourself a lot of pain by missing out on the so-called opportunity to provide this guy with a last fling before he got married. Look what happened to your friend who gave in to his desire and was his last fling. Her heart was broken and he got married and is happy. Great outcome for him. Lousy one for her.

So be glad that you didn't take him up on his offer. You didn't miss a thing. He's a jerk who was unfaithful to his fiance and used your friend with no thought at all about how she might be hurt.

You did the right thing and shouldn't regret it. This was not a lost opportunity. It would have been a disaster for you, and in your heart, you know it.

The best thing to do is not to talk to either your married friend about the feelings you had or to your boyfriend about it either. You want to unburden yourself and there are people you can unburden yourself to -- a therapist, a minister, or a counselor. They are experts at listening to burdens.

If you tell your married friend how you feel, you are just feeding his ego. You won't get anything out of it and will feel foolish afterwards. If you tell your current partner you will hurt him, and he doesn't deserve to be hurt by your feelings for another man. Telling everyone about your feelings won't make them go away.

Sometimes you have to keep your feelings to yourself. It's just not fair to dump them on someone who loves you. If you have to tell someone, confide in your best friend. She will understand because she's been there and felt the same thing. Everyone thinks about what might have been. But remember, what might have been is just in your imagination and has nothing to do with reality.

Enjoy the wonderful man you're with and be grateful that your better self won out and didn't let you follow your libido into a disastrous sexual encounter.

Good luck,

Dr. Tracy



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(Featured art from cover of Letting Go, by Zev Wanderer and Tracy Cabot, published by "Bitan" Publishers, Tel-Aviv, Israel)
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